I've known about and respected the work of Ayatollah for a good minute and a half (more like for the last 12-13 years). He's always had a darker, dusty, soulful approach to his beats, imagine a Queens version of the mid-90's Wu sound. He was doing high-pitched soul vocals way before it was en vogue, partially to compensate for his MPC 60's slender bit of sampling time (a total of 26 seconds with which to work an entire beat, I believe, and that's if the machine was fully expanded - pardon the tech geek shit)...therefore, most of his sounds came into the machine already sped-up, sampled at 45rpm, and then slowed down to a rap-friendly tempo (also what ultimately added more grit to the final product - more tech geek shit).
Wait...where'd you get your MPC 60?!
The other highlight of this interview is the bit about how he started with some pretty non-standard (or, inferior) equipment, yet learned the in's and out's of each piece until he could literally trick people into thinking he was kitted out like the "pro's". A lot of us had to go through this before the Internet/Digital Age (I guess you can call it "paying dues"). I actually know exactly what God-awful belt-driven Gemeni's he's talking about because those are exactly what I started with before I had enough for a pair of 1200's. And don't get me started on making beats with a crappy sampler and two tape decks... shouts to my ace Tage for leaving that MPC at my crib for the weekend. Life changing shit.